Various Artists

Flower Power [Time Life Box]

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What's that you say? You don't understand why songs like "It Never Rains in Southern California," "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo," and "We're an American Band" are in a boxed set called Flower Power? How about Alice Cooper, Jim Croce, and Mott the Hoople? They don't exactly bring to mind hippies and the Summer of Love and the psychedelically endowed van pictured on the cover? It's true that the title and even the subtitles of four of the five double discs within -- "Born to Be Wild," "Groovin'," "Age of Aquarius," and "Time of the Season" -- suggest something they don't always deliver. Only the fifth, more directly dubbed "The Hits of 1967," ties unambiguously into the packaging concept -- virtually all of the 40 chosen tracks from that glorious year for pop music suggest the time when flower power was in full bloom. But cynicism aside, the music collected herein ultimately speaks for itself, and although there is a randomness to the selection process utilized to compile the box, it's as solid a collection of '60s and '70s hit music as any -- save for a handful of true head-scratchers. Spanning genres, the set jumps from the classic rock of Procol Harum and Joe Cocker to bubble-pop (the Cowsills) to proto-metal (Blue Cheer) to pure folk (Joan Baez) to soul (Marvin Gaye). It's a set best appreciated for its very willy-nilly-ness rather than as a time line of anything remotely affiliated with any movement, real or imagined, having to do with horticulture.

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